'I WENT OUTSIDE & CRIED WITH MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL'
Our Georgia was always a poorly child. She’d catch everything! As soon as she’d recover from one cold another would come along. By the age of 2 she’d had her fair few hospital trips! Mostly chest infections. She had eczema and asthma we had no idea she had a severe food allergy.
4 years ago, me, my husband and Georgia sat down for our evening meal. It was a Saturday Georgia was only 2. We cooked a stir fry and used a Satay sauce. As we ate Georgia started coughing a lot and spat some of her food out. Quite usual behaviour from a 2 year old eating vegetables! Within seconds her lips started swelling. I went to call 111, but didn’t even get the chance to say her name, I knew we had to get her to a hospital. We only live a 4 minute drive from our local hospital.
I drove while my husband stayed in the back with Georgia. I was trying to recall if Georgia had eaten peanuts before. We ran into A&E, husband carrying a bleary Georgia and I shouted at the receptionist “peanut reaction!”. She flew from her desk and rushed us into the Children’s A&E department. Her lips were very swollen now.
I didn’t know much about Anaphylaxis. I just knew peanuts caused life threatening reactions.
A swarm of Doctors and nurses ushered us into a bay my husband held Georgia while they administered her the drugs she needed into her tiny body. The reaction was blocking her airways she needed two doses of adrenaline. At this point I couldn’t be in the bay, she had her Daddy, she was in the best place. I went outside and cried with my head against a wall.
As this was her first anaphylaxis we were bombarded with questions about her past health, her asthma, her eczema etc. We had no idea she had a food allergy. A blood test was taking to confirm which we already knew that she had a peanut allergy.
Throughout this Georgia coped with it all so well. She has had so many hospital visits she wasn’t afraid of them. She only cried when they administered and the cannula. Even to this day she’ll watch her own blood test!
We were admitted to ward for 24 hour observations and IV hydrocortisone.
Our lives turned upside down that evening. Everything changed. We were given Epi pen training, 2 epi pens and sent on our way the next day.
It was overwhelming. I have since researched everything: second guessed everything. It’s taken me a long time to recover from that evening. It was traumatic (to say the least) and the repercussions will be with me forever.
Nonetheless, I have come to terms with the diagnosis: I watch Georgia far more closely than I might have done otherwise but I allow her to be independent and to experience all the things any ‘ordinary ‘ six year would. She is learning about her condition and knows that she has to take greater care than her peers : she accepts the constraints this puts on her at times with cheerful resignation. If she can do this? Then so can I.